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Bill letting candidates spend campaign money on childcare heads to gov's desk

Montana State News Bureau Chief Holly Michels summarizes the day's news from the Montana Legislative session for April 27, 2021.

A bill allowing candidates to use election money to pay for childcare costs while they are campaigning is headed to the governor's desk.

House Bill 221, sponsored by Rep. Alice Buckley, D-Bozeman, narrowly passed a final vote in the House Monday, 51-49. It had passed a preliminary vote 63-37 on Friday, with Democrats and about half of Republicans supporting it.

An amendment added in the Senate clarifies that volunteer child care — such as a relative or close friend babysitting a candidate's children — does not need to be reported as an in-kind contribution.

When the House first heard the bill back in February, Buckley had argued for the measure as a way to allow a broader range of candidates for public office to be effective campaigners and public servants.

“It allows us to make that balance between our family life and our public service,” she said at the time.

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